Redskins Reviewed

The United States has a great deal of proud traditions and history worthy of celebration. A troubled track-record insofar as the treatment of Native Americans is concerned, however, is not one of these things—especially when that celebration is the name of a professional football team. The Washington Redskins have been representing Washington D.C. since 1933. There has been a great deal of debate in the public sphere as to whether or not the retention of the name is appropriate anymore, given its clear racial implications. While President Obama himself has even come forward and suggested that it might behoove the team owners to change the name of the team, these owners and N.F.L. commissioner Roger Goodell have come to the defense of the name, citing the team’s long history under the Redskin moniker and their perception that the name is – far from a racial slur – is in fact a tribute to native people. Bullshit. Just because white men did something in 1933 does not mean we should keep doing it now. Do you know what else white men were doing in America in 1933? Lynching Black people, prohibiting alcohol, and ignoring incredibly alarming political events shaping a new Germany. As a society, we’ve (at least the reasonable among us) made a decision not to do these things anymore because they are ridiculous and ignorant. Why then do we hang on to the vestiges of a hateful past at the expense of a brighter tomorrow? Two Senators (including our Maria Cantwell) last week wrote a letter to the Redskin’s

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owners threatening that if they don’t change the name they would seek rescission of the N.F.L.’s controversial non-profit status. The owners retorted that perhaps Congress had better things to be doing. In the same vein, we’d suggest that the Redskin’s owners be more concerned by their team’s abysmally poor performance last year and less concerned with the defense of their offensive name.